Daily Mail fails to understand Google Bombing

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  • August 25, 2008
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

The mainstream media regularly gets the wrong end of the stick when it comes to reporting about how search engines work and this week it’s the turn of the Daily Mail to write what appears to be a totally incorrect article about Google Bombing.

In their article entitled “Blears falls prey to ‘Google Bomb’ Attack Of The 50-inch Woman” the Mail explains how the results for “hazel blears” are being “manipulated” so that a fake poster of the MP appears in the images displayed at the top of the page.

Last night, the prank raised the possibility that she was the victim of ‘Google Bombing’, when internet enthusiasts manipulate rankings on search engines………

Paul Richards, special adviser to Mrs Blears, shrugged off the stunt.

He said: ‘Hazel is supremely relaxed about this. This is just part of the fun of the internet.’

Google yesterday denied the politicians had been subjected to Google Bombing, saying the picture’s ranking was due to several factors including popularity.

Google Bombing, when cyber pranksters create dozens, or even hundreds, of ‘fake’ sites linked to the targeted webpage to make it seem more popular, is something politicians around the world are all too familiar with.

The first clue that this wasn’t a Google Bomb should have been when they spoke to Google and were told that it wasn’t. This didn’t seem to stop the Mail who ran with the story anyway.

When you look at the image it has been hotlinked into a blog comment on another UK newspaper – The Telegraph. The image filename combined with the trust of the domain it was hotlinked by has caused the image to be ranked number 1 in the image search results – there is no evidence of Google Bombing anywhere.

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